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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

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LIFE  OF
From here, he went by the extremely beautiful path
along the windings of the Neckar to Heilbronn, on the
way to Stuttgart. Here he visited Professor Abel., one
of the clearest heads in the philosophical world, who
held an appointment at the academy there. He
also made the acquaintance of Reuss, the professor of
political economy ; of Schwab., the lather of the poet;
of the librarian Driiek, and of the poet Schubart.
With Schwab and Abel he seemed much pleased., but
says little of the others,
From Stuttgart, Humboldt went by way of Tubin-
gen to Constance., and arrived in Zurich in the com-
mencement of October. He wrote to Forster about
one person only he met with here, but it is such an
interesting description that we cannot refrain from in-
serting it. ec Doubtless/' he writes to Forster, " La-
vater interests you most of all my acquaintance here.
I spent several hours daily with him ; and as he did
not interrupt his usual occupations on my account., I
saw him in so many characteristic situations, that I
had full opportunity for observing him. My expec-
tations were great, in consequence of what Jacob! had
toid me of him, and from several of his productions,
which seem'ed to me to bear traces of deep and
original genius. I anticipated a profusion of new,
great, sxiggestive—even if only half-true or dreamy—
ideas- But I was disappointed ; and not only disap-
pointed "because I had expected so much, but because
I found so little. I could have numbered the interest-
ing ideas which I heard from him during the fort-
night, and I would be ashamed of comparing to it a
single day spent with Jacobi or yourself. Here and
there he shows a free and acute perception; but his
mind is too narrow, and has neither the restless acti-
vity with which real geniuses seek the undiscovered
but supposed truth, nor the fertile eagerness with
which they seize it when found. Constant allusion to
Mmself, vanity, the expression of stupid and insipid
sentiment, playing on words, waste his strength. This
would probably all be different if he possessed real